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The latest news on New York architecture.

Buildings larger than 25,000 square feet that are higher than 6 stories need to comply with two sets of regulations in New York City. 

The new Building Emissions Law that is part of the Climate Mobilization Act requires buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to reduce their emissions 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.  This will drive the overall reduction of emissions citywide decreasing NYC’s carbon footprint to enact Mayor de Blasio’s pledge that the city become carbon neutral by 2050.

The Façade Inspection Safety Program (FISP) requires buildings with more than 6 stories to be regularly inspected and repaired, this is intended to reduce the risk of falling façade hazards to the public.  NYC’s upcoming FISP Cycle 9 opens for technical report submissions on February 21, 2020 through February 21, 2024.

The NYC Department of Buildings newest amendments to FISP are scheduled to become effective February 20, 2020. The rule amendments are designed to enhance the qualified exterior wall inspector qualifications, inspection requirements and civil penalties against owners to ensure public safety.

The New York City Council outlines that residential buildings contribute the most greenhouse gas emissions in NYC. Medium size pre-war multifamily properties are particularly inefficient, according to this study by the Urban Green Council. Multifamily properties will need to reduce fuel use to meet the upcoming emissions caps by 2024. 

Scott Henson Architect has the expertise to look at your building holistically and develop a long-term plan to improve both energy efficiency and façade safety. We are committed to helping our clients drive towards a safer and more sustainable future for NYC.

Published in Sustainability
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Compliance With Local Law 11 Cycle 8

New laws are often enacted after there has been some sort of tragedy. Local Law 10, later 11, is no exception.

In 1980, a piece of masonry fell from a building and a pedestrian was killed. To help prevent this from happening again, The New York City Council amended the building code. Building exteriors now had to be inspected by a properly licensed engineer or architect. This was called the Local Law 10 of 1980.

The Local Law 10 of 1980 was amended and became the Local Law 11 of 1998. It is also referred to as "FISP," the Facade Inspection Safety Program.  It represents the oldest enforced facade inspection law in the nation, with over 12,500 buildings falling under its jurisdiction. 

There have been different inspection cycles under this law. Cycles 1 through 7 ran from the inception of the law until February, 2013. The current Cycle 8 began February 21, 2015 and will run until February 21, 2019.

These rules apply to buildings that are higher than 6 stories in height. If there is a question whether inspection and reporting is applicable, there is a website where the current FISP status can be checked. That website is here.here. The exterior walls and appurtenances must be checked by a licensed inspector, a Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI). There is a two-year window within which this inspection must be done, and this window cycles every 5 years. All exterior walls must be examined.

There is a Critical Report that must be filed with the Department of Buildings (DOB). The classifications in the resultant report are Safe, Unsafe, or Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program (SWARMP).

  • Safe applies to a building that will not become unsafe within the next five years
  • Unsafe is a condition of a building wall, any appurtenances thereto, or any part thereof, that is hazardous to persons or property and requires prompt repair." An unsafe condition must be corrected within 30 days. Extensions are permitted if certain conditions are met.
  • SWARMP is something that is safe at the time of inspection, but will need repair or maintenance within the next five years.

There are filing fees that apply to these reports.

When it comes to Cycle 8, there have been some changes that affect report filings.

  1. Prior to Cycle 8, if an air conditioner was considered unsafe, that designation then applied to the whole building. Now, an unsafe air conditioner is permitted a SWARMP designation. 
  2. Reports must now be filed within 60 days of completion, or a new examination is required.  This keeps reporting up-to-date and accurate.
  3. The third change involves fees. If a report has been rejected twice, a new fee is charged to cover the cost of the third report review.

If you are still finishing taking care of business from Cycle 7, it is time to finish that now. The Sub-Cycle 8A runs from February 21, 2015 to February 21, 2017.  If your building comes up for inspection, and you still not have completed a Cycle 7 SWARMP, well, you can see the potential problem. Cycle 7 repairs need to be completed now.

Contact us so we can help you come into compliance with Local Law 11, Cycle 8, as well as complete any Cycle 7 repairs.

Published in Sustainability